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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogsold : verde heritage May 26, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Thursday, April 24, 2014

1915: Verde Valley Teachers' Association; April.

Verde Heritage

"TEACHERS JOURNEY TO VERDE VALLEY."

"The members of the Verde Valley Teachers' Association had a new revelation of the possibilities of true hospitality when they visited Camp Verde and vicinity Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week. Arriving at the old army post by automobile and horseback Thursday afternoon, they were cordially welcomed by Miss Watkins and Prof. Belknap, teachers at that place, and assigned by twos and fours to the homes of the prosperous ranchers of that locality, who lost no time in assuring them of their welcome and proceeding to spoil them for evermore for the enjoyment of simple town life and table fare. ... It is safe to say it will take many years to erase the impression of that whole-hearted hospitality dispensed so freely by the residents of the lower Verde Valley during those three days."

"The first event was an entertainment given in the Camp Verde school house Thursday evening. A debate upon the relative importance of the school and the press was very properly decided in favor of the latter; the affirmative, supporting the school as a greater aid to civilization than the press, was upheld by Lawrence Weber and Allen Bristow of Camp Verde; and the negative which contradicted the proposition, was won by Sabrey Collins, Anna Chestnut and Virginia Finney of the Beaver Creek school, pupils of Miss Eula Bourne. The evening ended with a dance in honor of the visiting teachers at Mulholland hall."

"The Friday morning session of the association commenced with a business meeting and a well spoken address of welcome by C. Y. Belknap, Principal of Camp Verde school, where the session was held. Miss Kraft, Jerome's visiting nurse, gave a very able address on 'Health.' ... C. Y. Belknap explained the results of a two months' investigation of the reason for poor attendance, and his conclusion struck at the heart of one of the greatest difficulties in teachers' work, revealing the necessity for a closer cooperation between the school and the home."

"Miss Ella Barrett, of Clarkdale, explained her method of teaching arithmetic in the primary grades in which she is a recognized expert."

"County Superintendent, W. C. Miller, gave a discourse on 'Discipline,' supplementing his remarks by humerous illustrations in the various methods employed in the effort to enforce discipline in different schools."

"R. R. Larkin, a member of the Board of Regents of the College of Agriculture of New Mexico, addressed the association upon 'Rural Problems.'"

"Following the session, dinner was served at the Mulholland hall, by the Parent-Teachers' Association of Camp Verde of which Mrs. C. C. Calloway is the president. The bountiful spread was followed by a lively program." ...

"A wagon ride to the cliffs and sands of Clear Creek was the Friday afternoon feature. Time for exploring the canyon where the interesting events of the evening was to take place and a warm bask in the sunshine which so obligingly followed the threatening clouds, preceded the big barbecue prepared by the Clear Creek patrons. Verses were sung by the pupils and the barbecue prepared by Chef Wm. Goddard, was opened to the amazement of the already overtaxed imagination of the guests. Cowboy songs sung to banjo accompaniment added much to the enjoyment of the barbecue in its setting upon the Arizona sands. The souvenirs presented by the Clear Creek entertainers were most appropriate miniature pictures of the caves." ...

"The crowning achievement in the three days' entertainment was undoubtedly the very unique, dramatic exhibition staged before a marvelously appropriate ampitheatre upon the shelving platform of rock with a prehistoric cavernous dwelling as background. The mysterious and ghoulish were emphasized by the stage decorations; a string of bones and the skull of a bovine --- stretched above the curtain, were lighted by candles. A dim illumination was shed by means of Japanese lanterns stretched across the chasm and placed in smaller caves at the side of the stage. The audience was seated upon the opposite side of the canyon, and with three fires burning down in the canyon converted the whole region into a setting of mysterious beauty entirely appropriate for this unusual entertainment never to be forgotten in the impressive grandeur of the scene."

"Miss Blanche Brereton, the progressive, energetic teacher at Clear Creek, assisted by patrons of Clear Creek and Squaw Peak schools carried out this marvelously staged entertainment. The idea, so new and so bold in its conception, was born in the fertile brain of Miss Brereton and it was her genius and her artistic arrangement of details which made the venture --- 'experiment' she called it --- a never to be forgotten triumph in nature-set dramatics. The program consisted in a set of six Indian tableaux, intersperced with appropriate music issuing from the throats of fifty singers, with banjo accompaniments, grouped at one side of the stage. No more weird spectacle ever graced this home of a forgotten race, and the ghost of Hiawatha, had it ever roamed that wild and rocky canyon would have been startled to behold the scenes showing respectively: The Wigwam of Nakomia; Nakomia and Little Hiawatha; the Wigwam of the Arrow-maker; the Wooing of Hiawatha; the coming of the White Man; and finally the departure of Hiawatha. The specials which followed were no less suggestive of haunted caverns and sighing ghosts of long departed spirits of the region."

"The poem, 'Cliff Dwellers,' a recent expression inspired by the ancient cliff dwellings, which was wholly appropriate to the setting and atmosphere of the place was read by Mrs. Cox."

"The Crow Dance was cleverly executed and contained an element of humor in attitude and the harsh expression in the dancers voices. The Witches Dance, with circling spookish figures about a witch and her boiling caldron was a strong scene, ending the series in a climax of one horrible noise, half shriek and half wail, from the spirit-throats. A gorgeous display of fireworks was the last feature of this remarkable entertainment in the natural ampitheatre of the wild Arizona canyon, which, if produced in a large center of population would have attracted widespread attention and have added one new sensation in the production of dramatic art."

"Saturday was literally crammed with interesting events. The first was a visit to the Camp Verde Indian school, which with the Clarkdale school is part of the territory over which Doctor Joe E. Taylor has control, having been sent out by the government last fall. These schools and the interesting Apache tribes in their domain; the interesting work done by Dr. Taylor and his assistants, Miss Winchell and Mr. Might; we hope to include in an article for our readers at another time."

"The association members then enjoyed an auto ride through the beautiful Verde scenes to the ranch of Robert Finnie; a veritable oasis in the desert and its interest for the visitor further enhanced by the famous Soda Springs on the property. It proved one of the pleasurable events of the trip."

"A picnic dinner upon the lawn served by the patrons of Beaver Creek school was a banquet done justice to by the urge of the out-of-door-appetite and it was at this interesting juncture that the visiting educational delegation from the south joined the party. A pleasant half hour of visiting and a reluctant farewell to Mr. Finnie and the Beaver Creek neighbors was followed by a visit to Beaver Creek school where the exhibits on display showed results of the efficient work of the teacher, Miss Eula C. Bourne."

"The visiting association members and their guests were then taken to the noted Montezuma well and caves, where they were entertained through the courtesy of William Back. Montezuma castle was the next stop, and some who had never visited the ancient and much celebrated structure climbed to the balcony, thus running grave risk, worse than that possible to life or limb, of missing that now well-known fare, the last meal spread for them at the hospitable homes of the Camp Verde residents."

"The evening session, which from the personnel of the speakers and subjects discussed was designed to be the big meeting, was no disappointment." ...

"The unquestioning cooperation among all those who assisted, made it possible to carry out President Barron's big idea and the good people of Camp Verde who displayed such generous hospitality, surely poved themselves past-masters in its dispensing. The homes at Camp Verde were generously offered for the entertainment of the visiting teachers and these people have enshined themselves in the hearts of their visitors."

(Jerome News; Friday, April 23, 1915; page 1.)






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